President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov and President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan Mohammad Ashraf Ghani, who arrived in Turkmenistan on a two-day official visit, recently held negotiations in Ashgabat.
When arriving to the Palace complex “Oguzhan” along the capital city’s main street, the motorcade of the Afghan leader was escorted by Turkmen cavalry which is a sign of an utmost respect towards high-ranking guests.
President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov greeted the President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan at the central entrance of the magnificent palace complex.
Having warmly greeted each other, the leaders of the two states proceeded to the building’s hall “Oguzhan” where a ceremony of the official high-level meeting with the high-ranking guest took place.
After the traditional ceremony of the official photographing on the background of the national flags of Turkmenistan and Afghanistan, President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov invited his colleague to go to the hall of bilateral meetings, where they held talks in the format of « one on one ».
President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov expressed confidence that the Ashgabat meeting would be an extremely important step in broadening and deepening the bilateral relations which were noticeably intensified in recent years, and whose confident and constructive character was built thanks to centuries-old traditions of friendship, brotherhood and good neighborliness between the two nations.
“As a neutral state, Turkmenistan is actively pursuing a policy of peace and « open doors », and we do not only conduct this policy with regard to neighboring countries, but also for the benefit of the states of the region and the whole of humanity”, said President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov. It was emphasized that in doing so, Turkmenistan stands as a supporter of peace, security and sustainable development in Afghanistan, innitiating an exclusively peaceful resolution to issues, present in the neighboring country, and advocating for active use of new political and diplomatic methods, designed for long-term.
“We want Afghanistan to be a peaceful and economically developed country”, continued the leader of the nation, having noted that for its part Turkmenistan intends to continue to make every effort to support the brotherly people of Afghanistan and actively interact on these issues with the international community in the framework of major international organizations, in particular, with the United Nations.
As noted, for the purposes of consolidation of the overall effort, the United Nations Regional Centre for Preventive Diplomacy for Central Asia was opened in Ashgabat. In order to attain a sustainable development and economic prosperity of the region, Turkmenistan is also initiating and consistently implementing large-scale projects of regional and international level.
As a positive example, a successful joint work on the project of construction of the pipeline “Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India” was cited, the implementation of which will positively impact on the socio-economic development of not only the participating countries, but also countries of the region as a whole. According to forecasts, with a successful implementation of this project, which promises to Afghanistan huge economic benefits up to 1 billion US dollars, there will be created over 12,000 new jobs.
Another important aspect of the Turkmen-Afghan cooperation that was named is cooperation in the transport and communications sector, in particular, on creation of new transport corridors, for which all necessary conditions are put in place, first of all, a favorable geographical, geopolitical and geo-economic position of both Turkmenistan and Afghanistan.
As a specific example of positive interaction, a railway construction project “Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Tajikistan” was cited, the implementation of which will have a positive impact on trade and economic turnover and on the development of the Eurasian continent as a whole.
As pointed oit by the the leader of the nation, good proposals for the development of a network of transport and transit corridors are coming from the Afghan side as well, in particular, the initiative to create a corridor “Afghanistan-Turkmenistan-Azerbaijan-Georgia-Turkey”.
A constructive partnership has been established also in the field of education, in which Afghan youth is enrolled in secondary and higher educational institutions of our country, increasing their educational and professional level.
Turkmenistan and Afghanistan also cooperate in the health sector, in particular, Turkmenistan provides medical assistance to the population of the Afghan border villages.
Noting that as in Turkmenistan a great importance is attached to the physical improvement of the younger generation, V Asian Indoor Games and Martial Arts will be held in 2017 in Turkmenistan, and the national leader assured that steps would be taken to coordinate issues related to participation of Afghan athletes therein.
President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani expressed to his colleague and the people of Turkmenistan a deepest appreciation for the policy of peace and good neighborliness, which has beneficial effects on the general political climate in the Central Asian region, as well as for providing all these years support and assistance to Afghanistan in building a peaceful and prosperous life, including due to the progressive realization of the whole series of important new initiatives and projects in strategically important areas, such as supply of energy and electricity, construction of new transport corridors and their integration into the regional network, etc.
Referring to the block of economic issues, the guest emphasized that the Afghan side is looking forward to the successful implementation of mutually beneficial projects, including the construction of the pipeline “Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India”, railway “Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Tajikistan”, increasing the volume of supplies of Turkmen electricity that in the future may be distributed not only in the neighboring Afghanistan, but also in transit countries in South and Southeast Asia.
The presidents of Turkmenistan and Afghanistan also exchanged views on a number of actual issues of regional and international politics that represent a mutual interest, having stated their unconditional support for the efforts of the international community to address the pressing problems of today.
Further talks continued in the hall « Sultan Sanjar » in an expanded format with a participation of Governmental delegations of the two countries.
« Turkmenistan has always stood as a supporter of a united and peaceful life of the Afghan people, and is rendering its assistance to Afghanistan in the best of its ability. We will continue rendering such support to the neighboring country », said President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov.
Speaking of it, the Turkmen leader said that in the near future in the border provinces of Afghanistan, several fully equipped social facilities are being planned to be build. These include a maternity hospital with 20 places in the village Turgundi of the Herat province; home for orphans with 300 places in the city of Sheberghan in the province of Dzhovuzdzhan. In addition, a mosque will be built for 1000 places in the village Akin of the district of Andkhoy of the province Faryab. And in the city of Mazar-Sharif in Balkh province it is scheduled to open a specialty store « Turkmenistan », which will trade in products, produced in our country.
It was also informed of the intention of the Turkmen side to send to the neighboring Afghanistan a next humanitarian aid – school supplies, confectioneries and others.
The head of state invited President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani to take part in an international conference to be held in Ashgabat in December this year, as part of the forthcoming celebrations to mark the 20th anniversary of the status of permanent neutrality of Turkmenistan.
Expressing admiration for the successes and achievements of modern Turkmenistan which genuinely rejoice the brothers in the region, the head of the Afghanistan announced the intention of the Afghan side to take an active part in the anniversary events to be held on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of permanent positive neutrality of Turkmenistan.
Having expressed gratitude to the Turkmen side for supporting the project on transport corridor “Afghanistan-Turkmenistan-Azerbaijan-Georgia-Turkey”, Mohammad Ashraf Ghani also stressed an interest not only in the laying of the pipeline, but also in the railway network and power lines to the border with Pakistan, and expressed readiness to conduct appropriate negotiations.
After the negotiations in expanded format in a hall « Selcuk Khan »of the Palace Complex « Oguzkhan », a solemn ceremony of signing documents took place designed to create a solid foundation for further growth of the traditional fruitful cooperation.
In the presence of the heads of Turkmenistan and Afghanistan the following documents were signed: Agreement on Cooperation between the National Olympic Committee of Turkmenistan and the National Olympic Committee of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan; Memorandum of Understanding between the Government of Turkmenistan and the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan on further development of cooperation in the field of electric power; Memorandum of Understanding between the Institute of International Relations of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Turkmenistan and the Institute of Diplomacy of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, as well as the Program of Cooperation between the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Turkmenistan and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan for the 2016-2017 biennium.
Under a storm of applause, President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov and President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan Mohammad Ashraf Ghani put their signatures on the Joint Communiqué.
Complementory agreements to the Contract for the supply of electric energy in the direction Imamnazar-Andkhoy and to the Contract for the supply of electric energy in the direction Serehabat-Herat-Turgundi were also signed.
Upon completion of the signing ceremony, Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov and Mohammad Ashraf Ghani went to the Hall « Makhtumkuli », where they addressed representatives of the media.
Having stated that the official visit achieved its goals, President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov expressed his deep gratitude to President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani for the constructive dialogue, and wished brotherly Afghan people happiness, prosperity and peace, highlighting the deep meaning of the Afghan proverb « The power of wisdom overcomes any adversity ».
President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan Mohammad Ashraf Ghani said that he had extended an invitation to the President of Turkmenistan to visit Afghanistan at any convenient time.
In the afternoon, the President of Afghanistan visited Kipchak, where he paid tribute and laid flowers to the Mausoleum of the first President of Turkmenistan and visited « Turkmenbashi Mosque of Spirituality. » Then the President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan laid a wreath to the Monument of Independence of Turkmenistan and planted a tree on the Walk of the Guests of Honour as a symbol of eternal friendship between the two peoples.
On the same day President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani visited the Turkmen State Institute of Economics and Management, where an inauguration ceremony of awarding the President of Afghanistan with title “Honorary Professor of the University” took place.
In the evening, on behalf of the President of Turkmenistan an official dinner was hosted in honor of the President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, at which the two leaders exchanged speeches.
State News Agency of Turkmenistan